Running Our Own Presidential Campaigns
With all the talk of the upcoming primaries and presidential race, students in Roberto Clemente Community Academy’s Advanced Placement US Government and Politics class were curious about what exactly it took to run a full presidential campaign and be elected into office … So they tried it!
In groups, students created small presidential campaigns that included a candidate, a media consultant, a pollster, and an accountant. These campaigns used their knowledge of US government, current national issues, and analyses of current and past campaigns to run for office and be elected by their peers. Each campaign had to have a budget, advertisement, polling data, and stump speech.
But, before they could hand out flyers, air commercials, or even give a speech, students had to know what they believed in and what they would do in office. In other words, they had to create their political platform. Each group researched important national issues, how current candidates planned to address the issues, and what the American public and Clemente students thought about them.
Armed with a belief system and plan of action, campaigns started setting a budget. They looked at past campaign budgets such as President Obama’s campaign budget when he ran for office in 2008. The accountant then took the lead creating the campaign’s own budget, which included how much money they would spend and where they would spend it as well as how they were going to earn that money.
A portion of all the campaigns’ budgets had to include media. Using the polling data, the campaign’s platform, and example campaign ads, students developed a campaign brochure or campaign commercial. With the help of the Clemente’s World Media Center, students were able to film, edit, and produce real campaign advertisements. Others used Photoshop and other programs to develop flyers and brochures to get their candidate’s names and messages out to the people.
With all their research and data in hand, teams had one last step. After writing their speeches, each candidate stood at a podium in front of other seniors to present their beliefs and ideas in a stump speech. Audience members then voted for whom they felt would make the best president of the United States. And the winner was… Rosaly Gonzalez!